PITTSBURG — On Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning the temperature dropped to approximately 10 degrees and lower, and there was a dust of snow across Pittsburg and the surrounding area.
When this type of severe weather occurs, The Door Fellowship Christian Church has in the past opened its doors to people who are homeless through its Code Blue emergency shelter. After an incident at the end of November, the church has decided to close the shelter indefinitely leaving the homeless to seek shelter elsewhere.
The Door Pastor Ryan Burch said they have closed the shelter to address ways to keep the shelter safe for both guest and volunteers.
“I want everybody to be safe,” he said.
A guest of the shelter allegedly became upset after being woken and ended up having an altercation with another guest at the shelter, Burch said. The individual also damaged church property, Burch said. Burch said he was there and able to deescalate the situation.
According to Burch, there are currently no shelter or drug addiction-trained staff or volunteers at The Door’s Code Blue emergency shelter.
Burch said he has reached out to other shelters, including Watered Gardens in Joplin, to see what safety measures it suggests. Burch said he is also welcoming suggestions or help from people in the area who has experience or training in homeless shelters and drug addiction to contact him at the church.
According to Burch, many of the guests who visit the shelter have substance abuse problems. He has created a program called Deliverance Outreach and Recovery which is to help people have a substance abuse problem in the hopes of decreasing homelessness, he said. This group meets at 7 p.m. every Thursday at the The Door.
“Homeless is just a symptom of the underlying problem,” Burch said.  
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.